Aer Lingus to create 200 jobs with launch of new routes to the US
More than 200 jobs are to be created with the launch of three new Aer Lingus routes to the US, the carrier has announced.
Direct transatlantic flights will operate from Ireland to Los Angeles, Newark and Hartford in Connecticut from next year.
Five flights a week will run between Dublin and LA, with daily flights on the other two routes.
The expansion is the first major announcement from the former Irish flag carrier since it was taken over by British Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG).
Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said Ireland's geographic location and US immigration pre-clearance provides a "natural gateway" to build business between Europe and North America.
"This is the first step in our plans to add North American destinations, bring new aircraft into the fleet, increase passenger numbers and create new jobs," he said.
"This shows also our keenness to develop Dublin as another key hub within the group."
The routes will connect to a range of UK and European cities, including London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Paris, Amsterdam and Rome.
They bring to nine the number of transatlantic services operating out of Ireland by Aer Lingus.
Other destinations include Boston, Chicago, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, Washington and Toronto.
The airline described the move as the single largest expansion of its transatlantic network since it started flying to the US in 1958.
The promised 200 jobs will include pilots, cabin crew and ground services staff.
Aer Lingus said the new routes are part of a strategy to expand its Dublin Airport base "into a major European transatlantic gateway".
Business and tourism chiefs have praised the development.
Dublin Chamber said the new routes will help join crucial dots in Ireland's connectivity, opening new opportunities for business between Dublin and cities such as Boston, New York and Los Angeles.
Tourism Ireland said the importance of convenient, direct, non-stop flights cannot be overstated for an island like Ireland.